Surprise Cancer


The main reason why I have been mainly offline in the last few months (and, in particular, didn’t come to GUADEC), is that it has been diagnosed in late April that I had tongue cancer. This was quite unexpected since this kind of cancer usually concerns older people (I’m 26) who drink much alcohol (I don’t) and have been smoking for a long time (I never smoke). So having this at my age is bad luck. But on the other hand, I’m much better off to fight it with my young age and no other problem (whereas patients with tongue cancer usually present a bad overall health state: mouth/throat/lungs, etc.).

So I had to undergo 4 courses of chemotherapy (about 3 months, from May to July), and went into surgery on August 22nd where they had to remove about half of my tongue and all the neck ganglions (that’s about a hundred of them, 3 of which were infected). The chemotherapy was quite hard (harder than I thought), and the first few days after surgery were really hard as well (tracheotomy, huge scar on the neck, probe going into the stomach to feed me, etc.).

There is still a phase of radiotherapy to go (5 to 8 weeks, I don’t know exactly yet) starting on September 24th, and I hear that’s pretty tough as well. So I should be able to go back to work (more about that in my next post) around December or January.

Overall, the side effects are not easy (half of the tongue: difficult for speech, and radiotherapy: lack of saliva for the rest of my life, which makes it difficult to speak without drinking water all the time and to eat dry food), but I have already accepted them and the morale is pretty good now :-) Although radiotherapy is not easy, I think the hardest part is behind me. In theory, all cancer cells should now be out of my body, but the radiotherapy is still important to be really sure of that. I guess I’m ready to undergo hard stuff with tough side effects if it means that the disease is much less likely to come back.

I usually don’t feel like saying everything about my life and little private problems in public, but I thought it would be nice to let people know why I wasn’t online lately and why I didn’t go to GUADEC. I’ll definitely be there next year, though!!